22 Dec 2017 12:21

Head of Crimea denies speculation on possible new deportation of Crimean Tatars

SIMFEROPOL. Dec 22 (Interfax) - Sergei Aksyonov, the head of Crimea, has denied statements by Western and Ukrainian politicians on mass persecution of Crimean Tatars in Crimea.

"The statements on encroachments [on the rights of] the Crimean Tatar people are a complete lie. All citizens are equal before the law. There are no exceptions for anyone. No one is being persecuted for their political ideas," Aksyonov said on the Serious Talk program on Crimea 24 television on Thursday evening.

Aksyonov also called fears about the possibility of new deportation of Crimean Tatars (the people were deported from Crimea to Asia, Siberia and the Urals in 1944 and their mass return began in the late 1980s) "myths."

"Instigators from abroad regularly try to convince Crimean Tatars that they will be subjected to forcible deportation again. It's another myth. An absolute lie," he said.

At the same time, Aksyonov said violators of the law will be held responsible, regardless of their ethnic origin.

"In prisons and detention facilities in the Republic of Crimea, people of all ethnic origins bear the same responsibility for committed crimes, regardless of skin color, age, religious affiliation, and ethnicity. The system makes no distinction in this regard," he said.